Marriage on the brain? You may want to consider dealing the deal at City Hall. Sure, while most City Halls have all the charm of the DMV, there are a handful across the country that are upping their game. And with the cost of big, lavish weddings bordering on obscene, many young couples are choosing to ditch the pomp and circumstance and run off to their local City Halls to say "I do" instead. Here are the top five cities that offer the most glamorous City Hall wedding experiences.
In New York, the Manhattan Marriage Bureau was given a complete overhaul. The venue is now being described as a "palace," with two chapels and an oversized photo of City Hall, perfect for taking pictures. The redesign was overseen by designer Jamie Drake, and in addition to all this wedding glory, they have small accessories for sale, like fake diamond wedding bands and disposable cameras.
And if you should find yourself in need of a witness? Well, there are two local characters who can fill double roles for you. Goran Veljic and Braulio Cuenca are wedding photographers whose sole businesses revolve around City Hall weddings. Between their combined 24 years of experience they have served as both photographers and last minute witnesses at thousands of weddings.
You have several options in San Francisco. Inside the beautiful (and we mean gorgeous) City Hall, you can either be married in ten minutes with six guests in the Rotunda, or (if you have the smarts to call ahead months in advance and reserve it) you can get the Mayor's Balcony for an hour and 100 guests, plus chairs and a table if you are in the mood to bring champagne and whatnot.
Of course, if you really want to get fancy, and you don't mind being married before 3pm on a Saturday, the City of San Francisco offers an elegant yet economical wedding package. For $4000, you can rent out the stunning Rotunda for two hours, have up to 200 guests, and just party down.
Pasadena has an equally stunning City Hall, built in the late 1920s. Here, you can rent out the Courtyard and/or Rotunda areas, and enjoy the beautiful gardens. They have a maximum capacity of 250 people, and is not available on Mondays. The space is only available at certain times, so schedule carefully.
Or you can always jet off to St. Louis! The rotunda of the beautiful, French-inspired City Hall in downtown St. Louis is available for rental. For two hours and 99 people or less, you can rent the space for $150. For the same time frame and 100-199 people, the price goes up to $200. That's all without food or drink. If you'd like to cater the occasion, you can get a private rental for $950 (still way below most venues). As there is no air-conditioning in the rotunda, they don't recommend hot-weather events. Be careful, there are a lot of specific rules governing the rental of this space. But it's worth it to have your wedding in such a lovely setting.